Dear Co-laborers in Christ,
Greetings in the name of the Lord. Because of COVID-19, everyone is going through an uneasy time. Yet, you are there to pray for and support the ministry of the Bible College of East Africa. So dear friends, may God reward you abundantly with His care and peace.
March- Lockdown Again
When the 2nd term was over at the end of March, the number of people testing positive was increasing, especially in Nairobi. In late afternoon on Friday, March 26th, the president suddenly announced lockdown in five counties, including Nairobi. The lockdown would be in effect from midnight on that day. With such an announcement, the few students who had remained in the college waiting for the third term to open decided to go back home. Not knowing when the end of the lockdown would be, and the third term would begin, they thought it better to wait at home. In order to be out of the five counties by midnight, they hurried to get into vehicles (buses) to head to their respective places.
The following day, I thought they must have arrived to their places safely. But no way, as the news was that they were stuck in Nakuru (one of those five counties under lockdown). They were in a big hurry and couldn’t help but take a vehicle that was overcrowded. The vehicle left Nairobi but was caught by police in Nakuru. The driver, conductors, and all the passengers had been put in custody. They had neither sleep nor food until then. What made us more upset was the new announcement from the government, saying the lockdown to be effective not from Friday, but Saturday midnight! If it had been clear from the beginning, they would have not hurried, nor taken such an overcrowded vehicle. Anyway, after many hours in custody and GOOD talks with police officers, the vehicle was released to take the passengers to their destination. Well, this wouldn’t be the only case of police officers getting “something” out of the confusion created by the COVID-19 situation and the government’s dealing with it.
April – Vaccination
One day in April, early in the morning we went for vaccinations, and were ready with documents proving our service as missionaries. It was about 4:30 a.m., and there were already about 100 people making a line ahead of us! The place was one of the well-known hospitals in Nairobi. My expectation was to find confusion and disorganization, which is all I had ever experienced in public services in Nairobi. Wow, this was something new to experience. Good and organized services were offered (pictured right). We were ushered into the hospital building according to the number on the tickets given out first. There, registration was done, then they called your name, and you could proceed for the injection. Social distancing was kept and people in service were well mannered. (Well, this might be common for everywhere else, but here it was something new and nice!) Things went so smoothly that when we came back home, it was only about 8:00 am. If I have to mention about an exceptional mistake, I would say it was at the registration. I told the lady at the desk, “I am from South Korea”, and then she kindly clicked “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” in her computer! (Whoops! with that I was registered as a North Korean, but I guess it might not bring a problem.) To get the vaccination done (the first dose) is one thing, to experience such well-arranged service in Nairobi is another thing that I was happy about.
May – Back to Original Schedule
While the kindergartens were closed during this lockdown, there was a break-in in the Ngomongo area school. When Teacher “J” opened a classroom to look for a certain item, she found books, teaching materials, even educational decorations posted on the wall thrown down on the floor and badly torn. Why was the intruder so upset, so angry? This is not normal, compared to how thieves usually behave. Let’s say you meet a thief on the road, and your cell phone is forcibly taken. Even so, if you ask for your sim card back, they return it and take only the phone. Because, what they are looking for is money. Tearing everything and intentionally messing up all three classrooms in an institution where children learn, is scary and strange. Some commented that when the robber couldn’t find any cash in the classroom, he/she then got upset and behaved this way. Anyway, since then, I had to spend much of my time preparing educational decorations to be posted in the classes.
The very first day of May, the president announced a let-up of the lockdown. Life could go back to its normal rhythm. Basic education institutions could open as had been scheduled, which was May 10. Also, the Bible College could plan for its opening, too. Now, as I write this letter, the children are back to school, and our school compound is full of joyful noise.
As with many things in my life, including with this situation of Covid-19, I find myself so fragile and helpless. My comfort, however, is that when I am weaker, I tend to rely on the Lord more, and look upon His working, “every man that I called by my name; For I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.” (Isaiah 43:7) All that I can do is to stay here where I am called and “stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.” (Exodus 14:13)
Dear friends, continue pray for BCEA and its affiliated ministries to go on well, in the Lord.
In His service,
Bai, Eun Young